Tomorrow we fly to California for a memorial service.

Dreading this trip and being sick have kept me from writing. What is there to say but that I feel as if my heart will never again be whole? How many ways can I say that he was special? Am I the first person to lose someone? Indulge me in just sharing a few words frommy grandfather, they demonstrate his wisdom, candor and impishness.

An excerpt:

Easter Sermon preached in Smith College Chapel
19 April 1981
Davie Napier

I have a granddadughter in second grade named Amanda who recently wrote an essay entitled, THE BUTTERFLY. It runs all of a hundred words, and I think you will agree that it is an achievement — in the way of second grade achievement — in brevity, in clarity, in simplicity. Had she written more than the hundred words, she might well have engaged in the dubious art known to all of us in academia by the two letters also used to abbreviate the degree of Bachelor of Science. But that art is not really cultivated, assiduosly and with sophistication, until we come to college. THE BUTTERFLY. I am thinking of attaching copies of Amanda’s essay to long papers and exams in themselves worthy of the B.S. degree.

He was a preacher, a professor and an activist.




Yet none of these means as much as he was my grandfather and I love(d) him.

I think I’ll heed his advice and stick to the second grade version for now –

I am going to say goodbye.
There is an ache.
I have no words.
I’ll be back when I do.